Connacht make progress

Connacht survived a determined Beziers display to squeeze into the second round of the Parker Pen Challenge Cup despite defeat in Galway today.

Connacht survived a determined Beziers display to squeeze into the second round of the Parker Pen Challenge Cup despite defeat in Galway today.

Beziers scrapped their way to a 13-11 win in Ireland but Connacht’s first-leg triumph in France was enough to see them progress courtesy of a 29-23 aggregate win.

Connacht made the ideal start with Eric Elwood and Mark McHugh kicking penalties inside the first 14 minutes.

Beziers answered with a try from number eight Arnaud Costes. Argentinian out-half Federico Todeschini converted to put the French 7-6 ahead at half-time.

The home side went in front after just seven minutes of the second half, McHugh going over in the corner after Matt Mostyn had created an overlap.

With Elwood missing the touchline conversion, Beziers were still in the hunt but they rarely threatened the home line with captain Philippe Escalle and lock Steven Hall going closest in the closing minutes.

Two penalties from Todeschini gave Beziers the victory but Connacht advance, despite having replacement second-row Fabien Boiroux sent off in injury time for a clash with Sebastien Bruno, to meet either Parma or Pau in the second round.

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